Mines Alumni Association announces awardees

GOLDEN, Colo., March 5, 2012 – The Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association has announced this year’s Distinguished Achievement Medal and Mines Medal awardees, who will be honored at the annual Celebration of Alumni event on April 27.
The Distinguished Achievement Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding professional achievements of Mines Alumni. The awardees are:

Karen Krug
Ms. Krug is an experienced energy negotiator with more than 30 years in the energy industry as both a lawyer and a petroleum engineer. A lawyer with international firm SNR Denton, she was based in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) for a number of years. Her practice encompasses all aspects of energy and mining. Prior to working internationally, she was based in Denver, a partner with Welborn, Sullivan, Meck & Tooley.    

Ms. Krug is former president of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) (2009-10), AIPN vice president of education (2006-08), board member (2005-11) and co-chair of AIPN/Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) International Short Course and Core Course (2002-present). She is former adjunct professor at DU Law School, LLM - International (1996-2003), a trustee of the Colorado School of Mines (1996-2004) and a trustee of RMMLF (1996-2002, 2005-08). Ms. Krug was recognized in the 2011 Who’s Who International Oil and Gas Lawyers and Who’s Who International Mining Lawyers. Notably, she founded the Sister-to-Sister scholarship focused on assisting women students pursuing any degree at Mines.

J. Don Thorson
Mr. Thorson graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a degree in geophysics, joined the army, and then returned home to join his father’s new oil business. He learned to do every job in the field but particularly enjoyed designing and modifying equipment such as rigs, loggers and trucks. After 30 successful years, the Thorson family sold the oil business but continued to run the bentonite business, which marks its 65th year of operation this year.

Mr. Thorson served two terms in the Wyoming House of Representatives and was on the board of directors of the Mountain States Legal Foundation for 12 years, where he is still the emeritus director. He has served on numerous Mines reunion, fundraising and geophysics visiting committees. He established the Thorson Engineering Senior Design Endowment Fund, sponsors the annual Student Leadership Summit and supports the Wyoming Scholarship Fund.

The Mines Medal is awarded for exemplary service to the Colorado School of Mines. The awardees are:
Dr. Michael Nyikos
Dr. Nyikos’ passion for, and devotion to, Colorado School of Mines began when he joined the administration as dean of student affairs in 1979 and later served as vice president of student affairs and external relations. He was a vocal advocate for the Mines mission and a strong supporter of its students. During his career at the school, he helped secure funding for the renovation of virtually every academic building and the expansion of the school’s athletic facilities.
His unwavering commitment to Mines led to his appointment to the Mines Board of Trustees in 2002, with a subsequent reappointment in 2006. He served as chairman of the board of trustees from 2004 until his passing in February of 2010 and also as secretary of the CSM Foundation’s Board of Governors.
During his 40 years of service to higher education in Colorado, he served as dean of student affairs at Fort Lewis College and as vice president of institutional advancement at Mesa State. In retirement, he served on the President’s Advisory Committee at Mesa State.
He was a member of the Colorado Mounted Rangers and chairman of the Seventh Colorado Senatorial District. He served on several Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce committees, the PBS Advisory Committee and the National Junior College World Series Tournament Committee. Mike was also active in building a strong Mines alumni community in Grand Junction and served as a counselor for many students who had chosen to attend Mines.
George Wood
Following graduation from Colorado School of Mines with a degree in petroleum and chemical refining, Mr. Wood served as a research engineer with Universal Oil Products where he focused on developing refining and chemical processes. In 1969 Mr. Wood earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, and later became a general partner of Stein Roe & Farnham, a leading Chicago-based investment management firm. He also served as portfolio manager for State Farm Insurance. In 1982, he founded Wood & Co., an independent investment management firm based in Denver.
Mr. Wood has been a member of the CSM Foundation Investment Committee since 2001, serving as chairman since 2006. He is also a member of the Colorado School of Mines Foundation Board of Governors, and previously served on the Mines Reunion and Gift Planning Committees. He is a Mines President’s Council member, Guggenheim Society Member and a Century Society Member.
Mr. Wood is active in a variety of community organizations including the Denver Art Museum, Strings in the Mountains (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), and The Haven, which serves women with addictions and their infants.
David Tauchen, Public Relations Specialist / 303-273-3088 / DTauchen@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.